18 Size Elgin Pocket Watch Restoration

It isn’t often that I get a that I can’t open, but this was one of them.  This watch was a 40 minute battle for me to get the bezel ring off…  and what I found.

I don’t know the history of this watch, but it must have been sitting in an attic or a basement waiting for its next owner to come save it from complete destruction.  I’m guessing that at some point in time, it dropped, and stopped working.  The crystal probably broke, and a lot of dust, moisture, debris and gunk got into the watch.

In this video, you will see the breakdown of the watch…  Part by Part.  Yes, the video is a bit long, but I wanted to cover the watch as best I can for you to see what goes into the restoration of a 100 year old watch.

Restoring this was fun, time consuming and to be honest a successful challenge that I enjoyed.

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Part by Part

It is important that if you tackle a project like this that you take your time, and examine every part carefully.  Remove rust, and take it a step farther if you need to.

In this case, I spent a lot of time removing rust with a fiber brush, which worked very well.  Once I was done with the brushing, I polished each part that had corrosion or wear, and polished it with my flex-shaft tool, polishing discs and polishing compound.  Once I new they were cleared of damage that may interfere with the watch running, I degreased, and cleaned every part, one at a time and re-checked them.

In some cases, I would re-polish the part, teeth on gears, and try to only remove enough material so that I would not change the operations of those parts.

Tools you will need

I used a lot of different tools in this video..  The normal tools, screwdrivers, tweezers, and oils, etc.

But no doubt you may have not see the other tool I used in this video when I replaced the roller jewel.

Roller tools can be purchased used on ebay, and new from most watchmaker supply businesses.  Keep in mind, it is a difficult task, and these are Very Small parts.  If you want to do this repair yourself, take your time, and don’t get frustrated.

You will also need shellack, and a candle.


Why Polish the gears

Isn’t it enough to just brush off the rust and clean the part?


Polishing each gear and removing any rough spots caused by the rust and corrosion on the parts is very important.  It allows the watch to run smoothly, and if you are careful and don’t wear down the parts, you can get a watch that runs about perfect.


I hope that the video help you and if you have any questions, Let me Know!

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